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What Matters: Our Kids

The Triangle is home to almost 100,000 children under the age of eight. Each child is born with the potential to succeed, but significant opportunity gaps develop before kindergarten even starts. These are our kids. What can we do to shift the path from poverty to prosperity so each one of our kids can thrive? How can we work together to accelerate change in the Triangle?

Forty percent of our kids are struggling to succeed. They are behind their peers before they even set foot in the classroom and spend their academic lives scrambling to catch up. It’s time to dig deep and work together – business leaders, funders, public officials, nonprofits – to figure out how we can use the tools we have to ensure that every child, no matter their race or socio-economic status in the Triangle, has the opportunity to succeed that they deserve. The annual What Matters Community Luncheon on April 26 focuses on our region’s children, their access to opportunity, and the gaps in education that await them.

On April 26th at the Raleigh Convention Center we will gather to discuss the future of our children and more, and we need your voice in the room. Presented by Wells Fargo, our What Matters Community Luncheon is an annual event that inspires people across our region to learn about and address key community needs together. The event begins with four dynamic morning sessions focusing on understanding who are the kids in our region, communities mobilizing for literacy, tools for advocacy, and what contributes to early learning success, presented by community experts partnering with the Foundation.

The lunch program features keynote speaker, Sonia Manzano of Sesame Street fame. Sonia is a first-generation American of Latina descent who has affected the lives of millions of parents and children since the early 1970s when she was offered an opportunity to play “Maria” on Sesame Street. A staunch advocate for education, Manzano shares her extraordinary talent to help children succeed. A fearless trailblazer, she opened the doors for Latinas on screen. We look forward to her unique perspective and voice as a powerful advocate for young children and their families.

At the event, we are thrilled to present two Philanthropist Awards to very generous and passionate donors, Dr. Phail Wynn and Easter Maynard, and a $25,000 Innovation Award to a nonprofit collaboration that is working to tackle a critical community need.

As always, event proceeds go to the Fund for the Triangle, which supports our programs in the arts, community development, environmental conservation, and youth literacy. Early bird tickets go on sale March 7 for $65 on our website – We hope to see you there – let’s work together to learn, and tackle this issue so that we can secure a successful future for our kids!

Lori O’Keefe

Lori O’Keefe serves as president of the Triangle Community Foundation. In addition to leading the operations and strategic vision of the Foundation, she works to ensure that the Foundation’s donors and fundholders are engaged and connected to the causes they care about, and oversees programs to support the Triangle’s entire nonprofit community for the benefit of our region.